A journalist recently told me that she was in conversation with a friend who refused to bring children into this broken world. She felt it would be ethically irresponsible. She then asked me, “Rabbi, what should I tell my friend?”
I told her to open up the Torah from the beginning, the book of Bereshit, where God created the human being. It is obvious with a simple read that there are two creation stories, seemingly to describe two different Adams.
In his book The Lonely Man of Faith, the great Orthodox theologian, Rabbi Joseph Soloveichik, details Adam I vs. Adam II. David Brooks, in his book The Road To Character, comments, “While Adam I wants to conquer the world, Adam II wants to obey a calling to serve the world.”
Already, in the first chapters of the Torah, we as human beings are confused as to what our role in the world should be. Alshekh, writing in the 16th century, explains this dichotomy is an issue of faith. When we lack faith, we become slaves to the laws of nature. Yet, when we find an inner faith, we are able to create, not solely for our needs, but for the greater good of others.
Yes, it is no secret that this world is not an easy one to engage with. Often, hiding from the tohu vavohu, the chaos may feel like the easier option. Yet, the faith that we can be better tomorrow, that our children can witness and experience a world not that is but a world that can be, is why we continue to be an active partner with God in the creation of the world and revelation of Torah each and every day.
Starting the Torah from the word Bereshit is another way of saying, “Let’s begin again!”